Connecting with Care in Our Community

The Cause

The What Matters to Hatters Coalition is working to create a sense of hope, resiliency, and connection in our community. We engage local citizens to participate in and/or create projects to foster and support community connections. We are also working to highlight the existing resiliency within our community and take actionable steps to reduce stigma around mental illness. We have membership from Alberta Health Services, the City of Medicine Hat, Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Veiner Centre.

Our idea is to implement a kindness campaign from October-April with different pay-it-forward themed initiatives for each month to encourage connections in our community and reduce social isolation. We will partner with local businesses who will help us garner customer donations to raise funds for basic care needs (i.e., clothing, accessories, hygiene items) for the vulnerable population in our community. We will also use some of the funds raised to create a wash station at the Medicine Hat Public Library.

The monthly themed initiative will be profiled through our social media and in community. Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and organizations will be encouraged to participate and share in the kindness campaign.

Timelines / Themes:
- Oct. 16 to Nov. 15 = connection campaign
- Nov. 16 to Dec 31 = Give Local / Shop Local / Dine Local
- Jan. 2024 = Awareness campaign about the importance of connection
- Feb. 2024 = Random Acts of Kindness
- March 2024 = Make Kindness the Norm
- April 2024 = Pay It Forward

We will engage 5 local businesses and 5 restaurants to participate in raising funds and the monthly themes while encouraging them to nominate other businesses and restaurants to join in the effort.

The What Matters to Hatters Coalition is collaborating with the Medicine Hat Public Library throughout the kindness campaign. The library is a central hub for our most vulnerable who are supported by a team of social workers on site.

We will also engaged the various media outlets in our community including the Medicine Hat News, CHAT TV News, and local radio stations as well as current events calendars and social media platforms of our various partners.

We are committed to making this initiative a success through awareness, education, and advocacy for our most vulnerable who have not often been the benefactors of past random acts of kindness campaigns in our community. We want to change this!

Who Will it Benefit?

This project has the potential to ripple across our entire community. According to the theory on determinants of health, there is a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks based on the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. It’s not only our individual genetics and lifestyle choices that have an influence on our health. Where we are born, grow, live, work and age also have important influences on our health.

While working to foster hope, resiliency, and connection across our community, our overarching goal is to create conditions in which our vulnerable populations feel supported and cared for by engaging them in this 6-month campaign while raising funds to purchase items to support their basic care needs.

It is also our intention to breakdown the stigma that vulnerable populations face in our community. By highlighting the challenges in accessing locations to attend to personal hygiene, we hope greater awareness amongst the community will foster empathy and compassion while raising funds for increased access to basic care needs items such as soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, etc. and the creation of a wash station at the Medicine Hat Public Library.

Our community has consistently demonstrated a spirit of giving, as evidenced in events such as Random Acts of Kindness Day (the first Friday of Nov.) which we have been celebrating since 2013. In 2022, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta and the What Matters to Hatters Coalition expanded this single day event to a 4-month campaign in response to the impacts of the pandemic (social isolation/loneliness/divisiveness). With the support of our local Community Foundation, last year's event was promoted throughout the community. See photos attached. We believe Medicine Hat will rally behind this new idea and support us in raising funds for both the wash station and the basic care need supplies.

While we are requesting funds specifically for these items from the Field Law Community Fund Program, our intention is to use the granted money to make initial purchases of the supplies and to pay for the creation of the wash station. The funds raised in our community would then be used to build sustainability of this initiative for the needs of our vulnerable populations in future years.